Computer Networking: Learning to Link the Data

If you like working with computers, consider earning a computer networking degree. Jobs in computer networking may be described with different titles including network technician, network system engineer or network administrator.

The best accredited colleges and universities offer classes both in online degree programs or on campus, traditional programs.

Computer networking specialists are in great demand today. Networking pros install, repair and maintain an organization’s networked computer systems including the wide area network, local area networks and infranets. Earning a bachelor’s degree will take about four years. Classes include network diagramming, mobile networking, wireless networks, network security, Cisco network and computer security.

Many colleges and universities offer computer networking programs as distance learning options. You can access information about all of the online computer network classes and programs on the internet.

Computer Networking Degree Information

People who enjoy working with computers can look to computer networking as a growing career. All organizations employ computers, networking them into local area networks and wide area networks, connecting workstations with servers. Computer network professionals are employed to oversee these critical systems. They are responsible for organizing, installing and supporting a businesses’ computer systems with its component network segments and intranets.

Degree programs are available in computer networking at all levels, associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in computer networking as well as professional certificates. Both online and on campus degree programs cover topics such as operating systems, electronics, network/computer hardware, signaling and software. All provide up to date, specialized technologies to ensure that students are prepared for this challenging and ever-changing career. Most degree programs arrange internships and projects so students will have hands-on experience as well as classwork.

Bachelor’s

Bachelor’s degree programs provide both general education courses in mathematics, science and the humanities as well as specialized computer courses relating to networking computer systems. Students must take a total of 120 credit hours to be awarded the Bachelor of Science in computer networking. They will take classes such as networking technologies and fundamentals, systems architecture, network infrastructure, data structures, control structures and computer science fundamentals.

Master’s

Some organizations may require computer network professionals to obtain a master’s degree. Many degree programs offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree combined program, which usually takes five years. Since computer technology changes constantly and quickly, most computer network professionals will continually take courses throughout their careers to keep on top of changing technology and software. Most master’s degree programs can be completed in one or two years. Graduate students will take advanced courses such as computer architecture, network security, computer and network administration, advanced operating systems and advanced programming.

Certificate

Many colleges, universities and other organizations offer certificate programs in computer networking to allow graduates to show a level of competence in the field. A certificate program prepares graduates with the required knowledge and skills in networking, computer support and data communications. Usually, hands on work in computer labs is an intensive part of these programs. A certificate program can take up to a year to complete with courses such as networking fundamentals, problem solving and programming, NetWare administration and support, network routing fundamentals and database management systems.

Coursework

While general education courses are part of most undergraduate degrees, the focus of a degree program in computer networking is on the classes needed for the discipline. Most programs will have courses such as the following:

  • Advanced programming and algorithms
  • College algebra
  • Introduction to discrete mathematics
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Fundamentals of security management
  • Routing, switching and telecommunications
  • Tiered infrastructure
  • Operating systems
  • Ethics for IT professionals
  • Networking technologies
  • Network infrastructure
  • Management of enterprise networks

Most colleges and universities have state of the art computer labs with the most current computer systems and technologies available for training the computer networking students.

Career Opportunities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job opportunities are expected to grow by 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average. As firms and businesses invest in newer, faster technologies and mobile networks, demand for computer networkers will increase. Computer security is an increasing concern, and organizations will be hiring computer networking professionals trained in network and system security. As healthcare industries move into electronic patient records, they will require more computer networking workers to oversee these critical systems.

Earning Potential

The annual median wage of network administrators was $69,160 in 2010. Pay, however, varies by industry. For instance, computer networking professionals working in computer systems design earned a median wage of $74,230, those employed in hospitals earned $64,560 and those working in educational services received $59,230. Computer network and systems administrators who had bachelor’s degrees or higher and who stayed current with technological advances received higher salaries.

Computer Networking FAQ

What types of jobs can I expect with a computer networking degree?

Most computer networking professionals work full time, although overtime may kick in when an incident occurs that affects the computer systems. In 2010, network people held about 347,200 jobs. They work with physical computer networks and all of its components as well as the software running the network’s systems. Nearly all large organizations, governments and businesses hire computer network workers.

How long does it take to earn a degree?

A bachelor’s degree in computer networking takes four years to complete; a master’s degree program takes a year or two. Certificate programs vary, but many take a year to a year and a half to complete.

Where are the highest paying jobs for computer networkers?

The top paying states for this profession includes Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, California and New York. However, the top paying metropolitan areas include Boulder, CO at $101,810, San Jose, CA at $96,770 and San Francisco, CA at $96,470. Non-metropolitan areas in the middle of the country pay significantly less with southeast Iowa paying $53,530.

Related Sections

More Schools and Programs